I think about it all the time. But this is the first time I’ve ever written about it. Ever.
It’s private, but you and I see it every day. It’s my struggle with weight.
I’d like to say that I’m fine with what I weigh; that it hasn’t stopped me from doing what I want to do, and be who I want to be. But that wouldn’t be true. And if I hope my blog is anything, it’s honest. So, here is the elephant in the room. It’s me. (Pun kinda intended.)
I’ve been bigger than I am now, and certainly smaller. I’ve been on every diet known to mankind. Cabbage soup? HCG? Weight Watchers? Nutri-system? Yes, all those and more. I was on my first diet at the age of 12. I can’t count how many I’ve been on since then. I KNOW what to eat, what not to eat, and how to lose weight. I’ve done it plenty of times.
Over the years and through it all, I’ve been lucky to have friends and family that continue to love and support me for who I am, not what I look like. Although my outside has been many sizes, my heart and soul continues to be as big as it can be, and I think that’s a good thing.
I AM active – which surprises many people. All my activity has probably kept me from having any weight related problems. I bike (averaging about 25 miles at a time, and even done a century!), walk (sometimes run), take dance classes, play volleyball (when I can), garden and more.
So, why am I writing this post?
I went to a screening of the “Weight of the Nation” documentary by HBO – put on by the Advocates for Health in Action (AHA) this week. We only watched the section on childhood obesity called “Children in Crisis” of the documentary – but the impact of the obesity epidemic on our children and our nation just hit home for me. (You can also watch the full documentary on their website at: http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com)
Here are some telling figures:
• Children that have a TV in their room are more likely to be obese
• 79 million Americans are pre-diabetic
• Half of obese teenage girls become extremely obese by their early 30’s
• In the US in 2010, over 63% of people are overweight or obese
• Twenty years ago, no state had an obesity rate above 15%. Today, more than two out of three states, 38 total, have obesity rates over 25%
How can Cities and Towns help?
It’s not JUST personal responsibility that contributes to weight gain. There ARE things that cities, towns, leaders and advocates can do to lead the charge to a healthier path.
For instance, the documentary included a great story about Mayor Dean of Nashville – whose concern that Tennessee had one of the highest obesity rates of any state, and the plans he put in place to change that trajectory. He led the charge to invest in making the city more walk and bike friendly, adding more greenways, sidewalks and bike lanes; created programs to get people outside, apps to track your activities, and engaged the community to come together around this important issue.
It’s not a severe problem that we currently have in Wake County – in fact, the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program recently ranked Wake as the overall healthiest county in North Carolina for the fourth consecutive year. But we can’t stop now. We must continue to invest in programs and infrastructure that keeps us on the path towards healthy lifestyles.
In case you think this is just a “social program” keep in mind that an obese workforce costs American businesses an estimated $73.1 billion a year. So a “healthy town” decreases costs for business owners. Think of it as Economic Development.
So, again, why am I writing about all of this?
Well, I’m putting it out there… being honest about who I am, and what envision for me and my family. And this all lines up with what I hope we can achieve for our entire community.
This also a way to document my journey, be honest about my struggle while hoping other folks will accept me for the path that I am on.
My commitment is to eat healthier, stay active, and find ways to help us all live productive, fun, healthy and loving lives.
I hope you’ll support me in this journey.
(Featured photo by Natalie Johnson)